A herniated (slipped) disk occurs when all or part of a disk is forced through a weakened part of the disk. This may place pressure on nearby nerves or the spinal cord and is a common cause of lower back, neck, shoulder or leg pain.

The bones (vertebrae) of the spinal column protect nerves that come out of the brain and travel down your back to form the spinal cord. The spinal bones are separated by disks that cushion the spinal column and put space between your vertebrae. The disks allow movement between the vertebrae, which lets you bend and reach.

A herniated disk is when a spongy disk that cushions the back’s vertebrae ruptures or breaks open. The jelly-like substance inside the disk leaks out and irritates nearby nerves, causing pain, numbness or weakness in the back or legs, commonly known as sciatica.

A herniated disk most often results from injury or weakening of the spine related to aging.

Herniated Disk Diagnosis

You physician will perform a careful physical exam. He or she may also order tests, including:

Herniated Disk Treatment

At the Spine Center, we often treat a herniated disk non-surgically with rest, medication or physical therapy exercises. If your symptoms do not go away with other treatments, surgery, such as a diskectomy, may be an option.